8 Organizing Ideas to Steal from These Beachy Airbnbs

published Jun 29, 2022
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Summer’s finally officially here! My family will soon be headed to a vacation house for a week, and I’m already plotting out a meal plan — and thinking about how I’ll stay organized in somebody else’s kitchen.

Luckily, most vacation homes I’ve stayed at make that last part nice and easy. Whether the goal is to make the most of a small space or just make life easier for guests (hey, every five-star rating counts!), the best Airbnb hosts go the extra mile to make sure your vacation is as relaxing as possible. 

How, though? I spoke with two people who rent out beach homes. Here’s what I learned about how they organize their kitchens. 

1. Opt for open shelving.

Andy Giorgianni, who owns a beachy Airbnb in Santa Cruz, California, installed open shelving in the space’s tight kitchen. “We love the clean lines and felt that overhead cabinets would close in the space too much,” he says. But the shelves aren’t just aesthetically pleasing — Giorgianni purposely keeps stacks of dishes and bowls there so guests know where to find things. And for easy dishwasher unloading.  

2. Use every inch of vertical space.

Georgianni’s beach house is less than 1,000 square feet. If you’re living in tight quarters — or you just want to maximize every inch — don’t forget to use empty vertical space. After noticing that paperwork and mail tended to accumulate in the kitchen, he hung up a wall-mounted organizer from Pottery Barn. It stores keys, the ceiling fan’s remote control, and tourist pamphlets for guests, which means counters can stay clear for food prep. “We love that it has a little shelf on it too, so we can make it cute and functional,” he says.

Credit: Minette Hand

3. Use the space on top of the fridge.

Running out of cabinet or pantry space? Follow Georgianni’s lead and store lesser-used items on top of your fridge, if there’s room. At his Airbnb, a water pitcher and first aid kit reside above the appliance, but you could store anything (think: extra packs of LaCroix, paper towels, and even small appliances). 

4. Make the most of your sink space.

If you’re blessed with a decently large sink, get creative to save room on your counters. Georgianni added an adjustable strainer to his property’s sink, which he says guests use to wash fresh produce and dry hand-washed dishes. “It helps us keep the counters clear and dry, and the strainer can be tucked away when not in use,” he says. Kitchn editors are big fans of this drying rack, which also fits over a sink and helps to save counter space. 

5. Install a few hooks.

Lisa DuBois, who rents out her Maryland beach house on Airbnb, created her own grab-and-go coffee station on a small counter near the oven. “I hang the coffee mugs nearby, so guests have easy access to them while keeping the counter space neat,” she says. “This also frees up space in the limited cabinets.”

6. Hang your paper towels, too.

Paper towels should be easy to grab, without hogging valuable real estate on your counter. That’s precisely why DuBois mounted a hanging paper towel holder beneath a cabinet in her beach home’s kitchen. Depending on your own space, you could install it under or on the side of your cabinet. Either way, your countertops will thank you. 

7. Add shelf risers to your cabinets.

You can increase the usable space in your cabinets if you use tiered shelves or risers. In her Airbnb, DuBois uses these corner shelf racks for plates and these shelf racks for bowls. (To make the small cabinets more visually appealing, she also added self-adhesive shelf paper!)

8. Let functional items double as decor.

Like Georgianni, DuBois has open shelving in her Airbnb’s kitchen. She lets her dishes act as decorations and added only a few small items and artwork to complete the room. (Propped-up artwork takes up practically no space and makes a big impact!). She even displays glass bottles of olive oil and vegetable oil. 

Do you have any tips to add to this list? Leave your ideas in the comments below!